Hi guys and gals, first post here, but I've lurked here before but just now registering and posting I'm getting ready to apply for my graduate schools. I'm not sure what exactly I'm seeking, so I want to provide a little background. I've always been a tinkerer, ever since I was young I've been building and disassembling things, asking how things work, and trying to figure out why they don't. I also love science, I've got a bookish, artistic side (I'm an amateur metal artist/sculptor as well) but when I tried to go to school for journalism I realized that the sciences were what I really missed. As a result, I switched to the physics program at my state university. My goal is to work in a field where I can create, both knowledge and physically. Because of this I'm looking at either robotics engineering (a hobby of mine since high school), or experimental physics. I love the challenge of trying to build a machine to test an event or law, and part of this is because our school's facilities really are not that great, and I've seen first hand what an understanding of experimental physics can do as far as being able to build your own equipment. A large amount of our equipment was built by several of our professors. Because of my split between robotics and physics, I'm majoring in physics with a focus on computational physics, with dual minors In mathematics and computer science (although the courses I'm taking are actually computer engineering, there is no computer engineering minor). My GPA is hanging onto 3.5 by the skin of it's teeth and this semester is not looking so hot. I think I performed decently on the general GRE, with a Verbal score of 159 on the new scale and a Quantitative score of 161 on the new scale. I'm not terribly surprised by this because as I said, I'm a lover of both science and the arts, and have been between them my whole life, never entirely focusing on one. Ok, I'm a nerd. A well rounded nerd who doesn't stand out in any particular way, but a nerd. Now, maybe because our department is not the most organized, or maybe because I'm just not as good at this stuff as I thought I was, but when I took the practice physics GRE I scored abysmally. My friend and I were a point off, landing at the 8th and 7th percentile respectively. This was in June, and despite working and my dabbling in the arts I've been studying hard and regularly. I just took another practice exam yesterday with my friend to prepare for the physics GRE tomorrow and I scored a still depressing 16th percentile. So, with less than a year left, and not being able to count on my physics GRE scores, how do I make my research count for it? I've been working on many projects here, in both departments. Including an experiment where we've been attempting the synthesis of quantum dots, but we haven't yielded any new data, just attempted replication of other documented, though recent, experiments. In the computer science department I received 40 hours of paid assistant-ship this summer to work on a device to measure the activity of fruit flies for the biology department. Other projects I've worked on or will be working on are a laser harp, a tree climbing robot for the environmental science department, and possibly a project involving Mathematica and quantum operators. Sorry for the long winded post but my question is this: How do I make these unpublished research projects count to help make up for what I'm unfortunately expecting to be a "not-so-good" PGRE. If something miraculous happens with the QD synthesis experiment, it could possibly be a poster presentation at a local conference, but that's about all I can see.